Inside This Issue - Opinion
Merck Adherence Estimator demonstrates worth
June 27th, 2011
The Adherence Estimator, a patient segmentation tool developed by researchers at Merck & Co. to help pharmacists and other health care professionals identify and assist individuals prone to medication nonadherence, has proved its worth in a variety of practice settings since its debut last year.
Carolinas HealthCare System (CHS), which operates 33 hospitals, a network of physician practices, and mail-order and retail pharmacies, is using the Adherence Estimator in a pilot program designed to ensure that cardiac patients leave the hospital with the medications that they need and understand the importance of taking them as directed.
“It’s critical that these patients stay on their meds so they don’t wind up back in the hospital,” says John Robicsek, director of program development in pharmacy administration at CHS. “We’re focusing on compliance, and the Adherence Estimator allows us to efficiently determine if someone is a low-, medium- or high-risk patient. The results will help us guide future conversations with patients and improve outcomes. Ideally, we would like to offer this service to all of our patients.”
The tool serves a similar purpose for Tony Eid, Pharm.D., a clinical pharmacist who runs hypertension, hyperlipidemia and anticoagulation clinics at David Grant Medical Center on Travis Air Force Base in California. The people he deals with have already shown themselves to be at risk for noncompliance with prescription drug regimens. The Merck Adherence Estimator is used to establish a benchmark for patient attitudes that affect compliance.
“The Adherence Estimator has a high degree of accuracy in pinpointing potential problems,” he notes. “And it provides a good starting point for dialogue with patients.”
At Eid’s office, that’s only the beginning. Patients answer the questions that are part of the estimator each time they visit, as a means of charting their progress.